Why conduct case studies?
Our case studies on trafficking in human beings for the purpose of organ removal (THBOR) formed a fundamental part of this project. We selected large cases that involved (elements of) THBOR and that were prosecuted in South Africa, the Republic of Kosovo, the USA and Israel. We performed them with the aim to gather information and know how about the non-legislative responses to this crime. What hurdles and successes did prosecutors and investigators in these cases encounter? What can other countries learn from their experiences?
As a result of our collaboration with the South African Police Service, the American Police, the Special Prosecution Office of the Republic of Kosovo and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and as a result of the EU financial support, we were able to organize case studies in the following countries:
Durban, South Africa - Netcare Case
In December 2003, the police in South Africa uncovered an Israeli-led international organ trafficking network, which arranged at least 109 illegal transplants performed in South Africa. The brokers in general set a fee of US$100,000 to $120,000 for their Israeli patients. Israeli ‘donors’ were initially paid up to $20,000 per kidney, before the brokers discovered that poor Romanians and Brazilians were willing to accept as less as $3,000. The trial is still ongoing. In Durban we interviewed a large group of prosectors, investigators, attorneys and legal experts to gather as much information as possible about the non-legislative responses to this case.
When: November 2012
New York, USA - Rosenbaum Case
In October 2011 a 60-year-old man pleaded guilty acquiring, brokering and transferring organs for ‘valuable consideration’ in the first prosecution of organ trafficking that occurred in the United States. He said to have been brokering the sale of organs for 10 years and to have arranged ‘quite a lot’ transplants in United State hospitals. Through his extensive network he mostly recruited local recipients who paid him up to US$160,000 for a kidney, acquired from foreign suppliers for $10,000 each.
When: March 2013
Pristina, Republic of Kosovo - Medicus Clinic Case
On April 29, 2013 five people were convicted for their participation in an organ trafficking network based in Kosovo. Between 20 and 30 poor individuals from Russia, Moldova, Kazakhtan and Turkey have been trafficked into Kosovo with false promises of up to US$20,000 for their kidneys. Their organs were transplanted into foreign patients who paid up to $200,000. The network was led by a highly regarded surgeon and professor at the Pristina University Hospital, and also charged was an official in Kosovo’s Health Ministry. In September 2013 we were welcomed by Jonathan Ratel and his team for a week-long study.
When: September 2013
Tel Aviv, Israel
Israel is a major player in the global organ trade. Because Israelis were involved in the Netcare and Medicus Clinic Cases, we went to Tel Aviv to study the links to these cases there together with Zvika Orr of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
When: October 2013
Who are the researchers?
Our research team consisted of Susanne Lundin, Martin Gunnarson, Ingela Byström, Jessica de Jong and Frederike Ambagtsheer.
Other case studies
Jessica de Jong of the National Police of The Netherlands conducts additional studies as part of her PhD research on organized crime in organ trafficking. These studies concern signals and cases in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, UK, Greece, Romania and USA.
When will we present our findings?
Our case study report was presented at our symposium on 21 November 2014 and can be read on our website (under reports).